Visiting America

I leave for America next week, back to NYC, Florida and some other familiar stomping grounds of my youth and it couldn’t have come at a better time either; the weather in Germany for the past few months has been especially depressing. I found myself popping in brave_movie_2012-2560x1600Disney’s/Pixar’s Brave more often just so I could see lush colors and shades of green again. I miss blue skies and warmth and feeling like I belong somewhere.

Moving to Germany has been an adventure, but it has been one that made me more untrusting, more paranoid and taught me to broaden my horizons while also reinforcing my insignificance in the world. Before Germany I was confident, proud, unknowingly ignorant regarding other cultures, ambitious, and prone to wearing rose- tinted glasses. Nothing was impossible, that’s how we Americans are taught to think. There is no problem too big, it just takes patience, determination and hard work. Well Germany isn’t that way. There are problems that are too big (or more appropriately, problems that FEEL like they are too big), and I don’t know who I am here or what I’m good at doing here that will enable me to fix them. And It’s not an easy fix; go learn the language you doofus and you’ll be fine. I am learning the language, that is a problem but not the overall one. The bigger problem is too big to fully articulate.

from soulfulwellness.com
from soulfulwellness.com

When you are the foreign one in a country, don’t expect sympathy or understanding, at least here. In my experiences thus far, Germans have not made it a point to know or understand my culture or think about how difficult it might be for me when bridging together sentences in a foreign language (and I’m so slow at it). I attempt it with an open heart and sometimes get ignored, and/or misunderstood. Visiting the post office is always terrible here, even though I speak German and try really hard, I get yelled at, told to leave the line, one person told me to go back to my country, and one customer flung racial slurs at me. I’ve come home crying, feeling like an idiot. I’m not a victim, this was my choice, now I’ll face the consequences of that.

But when you do get into a social setting, you and your culture are often ignored like an outcast. Don’t speak the foreign language well enough? Don’t know the dialect? Well be ready to sit outside that circle, even if it’s in your own house or wedding day. And no one is to blame here, except me, for not trying harder. I’ve been told many a’ times that I should just try harder, make more effort to be better. It’s true too. I should try harder, I should make more of an effort. It’s all so overwhelming that you start to remember that you didn’t have to do any of this back in your home country, it was all so easy! IMG_0404

So with these thoughts, pressures, and feelings of guilt for making life difficult for others, it’s good to escape back home for a while. It’ll give me a chance to find out what I miss about Germany, and hopefully, offer more motivation to fit in there. I will do better, I will be happier, I will be more bearable. I will, I will, I will. And as my last post for possibly a month, just know that I will be reveling in the easy of going back home. I’ll be smiling and laughing, enjoying my family and feeling good about myself again. That’s a good note to end on right?

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One thought on “Visiting America

  1. “Germans have not made it a point to know or understand my culture or think about how difficult it might be for me when bridging together sentences in a foreign language.”

    Yes… and Americans do the same. I’ve lived as a foreigner in the U.S. and in Germany and it’s exactly the same in that sense. Nobody really cares about where you come from, people tell you to “go back to your country”, and they expect you to speak their language perfectly even though you’ve only lived there for a few years.

    It’s that way everywhere — the majority of people have not had the experience of living abroad, they don’t know what it’s like, and they don’t want to know. It’s difficult to accept, but as an expat you have to think of yourself as “taking in what the host country has to offer” but you can’t really expect for everyone to want to take in what you have to offer. It’s tough.

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